A new exhibit at the Singapore Art Museum takes nail clipping to a whole other level.
After a year of collecting his own skin and nails, multi-disciplinary artist Ezzam Rahman has placed them in 34 bell jars. Instead of leaving them as they are, he's painstakingly sculpted them into the most barren of flowers — with scraggy petals showing off intricate veins. You wouldn't have been able to tell that they were made of dead skin from the soles of Ezzam's feet.
It's a piece of art that directly presents a part of Ezzam, quite literally. Pursuing the idea of leaving behind a trace of a person, he started playing with his own skin after a session of nail clipping and ended up sculpting something — thus beginning a journey of piecing together skin and nails to create flowers.
It isn't the first time he's using his own body to make a statement. Ezzam has spent six years working with skin, including a recent skin sculpture commissioned by the Singapore Art Museum in 'Unearthed' last year. This time, as one of the President's Young Talents 2015 (PYT), 'Here's who I am, I am what you see' is an ephemeral work weaving the ideas of absence and presence.
Staged in a dark room lighted only by the glow of bell jars, it's superficially a stark contrast to his other work for PYT, 'Allow me to introduce myself' — yet it retains the root of ephemeralism.
Set in a brightly-lit, glass facade room and decked with used furniture, bell jars, and copious amounts of talcum powder, this performance installation sees him scooping a handful of powder and blowing it out — spewing saliva, phlegm, and other bodily fluids from his mouth to the room. It's a great way to multi-task, if you will — the artwork is ever-growing with the addition of fluids left behind (as well as their reaction to powder) marking the artist's presence — though he doesn't have to be there to make a statement.
The President's Young Talents exhibition will run from now till 27 March 2016 at the Singapore Art Museum. Ezzam Rahman will perform 'Allow me to introduce myself' on 11 September, 9 October, 13 November and 11 December from 6.30-8.30pm.